Students hope to help drive Metro’s future with innovative designs

Huw Lewis, corporate manager for customer services and communications at Nexus, centre, with college staff and students
Huw Lewis, corporate manager for customer services and communications at Nexus, centre, with college staff and students
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Students from are hoping to help drive the future of the Metro after creating high-tech designs.

Rail bosses revealed earlier this week that, following consultation with passengers, London Underground-style linear seating could be introduced to trains.

The students showed they have a very good grasp of what people might want from their transport system in the years ahead

Matt Sessions

That might not be the only change on the service, which carries hundreds of people to and from South Tyneside every day.

Students at South Tyneside College put their ideas to paper after Metro operator Nexus sought input from the public over its planned £1billion investment in trains and infrastructure.

Among the innovations thought up by the computing students were touch screen windows, seats that transmit audio, passenger facial recognition systems and adjustable personal air conditioning.

They now hope Nexus will include some of their ideas when new trains are designed with suppliers.

Lecturer Matt Sessions said: “The students showed they have a very good grasp of what people might want from their transport system in the years ahead.

“These are ideas of the future and ideally we would love for some of them to be taken up by Nexus.

“Research shows that older people care most about security and that the young want technology like wi-fi on the trains.

“The students have really got into the project and have done a lot of research into the type of technology that may exist when these trains come to be built and in the years after.”

After a day-long pop-up lab at The Customs House, in South Shields, the Level 3 BTEC computing students returned to the classroom to plan the project.

It was one of several drop-in events held in the North East, where the public could meet experts from Newcastle University’s Open Lab to discuss carriage design.

The findings will be shared with Nexus ahead of the build of the first new Metrocars since 1980.

Simon Bowen, the Open Lab researcher leading the project, said: “We’ve been really impressed with the thought and effort put into the students’ work so far.”